There are many places in the world that have a rich and varied musical culture and New Orleans is no exception.This is a city that is said to be the birthplace of Jazz. Its cultural heritage is an intoxicating melting pot of influences that go back as far as Africa, Cuba and also has European influences that hail from France and Spain.
The main thread running through all different beads on this musical chain is the strong influence of the sub-Saharan African drum rhythms that were brought over with the slaves to the US, Cuba and other Spanish speaking countries and the Caribbean. These rhythms known as the ‘Habanera and the ‘Tressilo Have played a large part in a lot of musical styles including Ragtime, Dixieland and other forms of New Orleans Jazz ,the Blues ,RnB ,Rock and roll and Funk music that all became prevalent influences with each of them having a crossover point to all those kinds of music in turn by keeping these rhythmical aspects alive that make New Orleans music unique.
What makes this discovery intriguing is the fact that much of the music that was conceived in New Orleans in its various forms has influenced music in the west to a very popular level and remains to do so through the medium of modern dance music ,
Without the rhythmical influences that were brought over by the slaves to those islands ,music may have been very different .Music in the US and Europe focused more on melody than rhythm ,and dancing from the waist down was seen as being lewd at a certain point in time with the arrival of these African influences
Now if we come to the present day, asides from commercial pop music that relies heavily on these beat patterns. you can also hear them still as part of today’s Jazz, RnB, and world music scenes.These traditions have thankfully been kept alive in the indigenous cultures from where they first came from and also within the music of New Orleans.
So the conclusion is that although modern pop music has some aspects that has seen the form diminish possibly to its detriment, it would be very different without the influence of these former cultures
So we owe a great debt to New Orleans and its predecessors for a musical heritage that has provided us with depth to peoples lives through hard times and good. We would do well to not forget these musical riches that have been bestowed upon us in exchange for a modern commercial market of here today, gone tomorrow mentality. Thank you very much, New Orleans!
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